Small business needs relief

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Law designed to do nothing more than fail

By Merilee Dannemann

Before it vanishes into the vapor, mourned by almost no one, let me tell you about the Small Business Regulatory Relief Act.
Promising title, wasn’t it?
It could evaporate this year. It’s named in a long list of things to be repealed in HB 29, the 89-page bill that creates the proposed new Department of Commerce.
The Small Business Regulatory Relief Act was enacted in 2005 (HB 869; you can read it on the New Mexico Legislature’s Web site).
The act established the Small Business Regulatory Advisory Commission, which was to review proposed state regulations and comment on the effect of those regulations on small business.
But the law had no teeth. The requirement for cooperation by state agencies was so wimpy as to be meaningless — in part because there was no consequence for failure by an agency to cooperate. And if the commission identified a problem, there was no requirement for agencies to fix it.
In short, the law was designed to fail.
These flaws were obvious to me immediately, and I wondered why there was no record of attempts to make the bill stronger. Maybe because the sponsors were the House Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader. As a serious proponent of reducing government brutalization of small business, I was hopeful — but not very. Alas, I was right.

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